Recreating a Child’s Perspective
By Rena Tsung ∥ Translated by Sarah-Jayne Carver
Dec 27, 2022

We tend to forget a lot of things as we grow up. We forget how something sugary was often all it took to make us happy, or how overjoyed we felt when we found a four-leaf clover. Our eyes no longer have that pure way of looking at the world, instead we see things through a veil of maturity and the weight of everything we’ve seen. While children might have limited life experience, the clarity with which they see things and their observational approach to life mean that their eyes can shine with genuine excitement. For those of us adults who have long since lost that childlike innocence and forgotten to hold onto our old passions and aspirations, we envy their untainted happiness and yearn for that fearless simplicity. It reminds us to “live like a child” and how learning from that childhood innocence could lead us to different choices and life experiences.

Higo Wu and Chen Pei-Hsiu are two creators from very different fields who came together to collaborate on Still Young, Still New, a picture book that lets readers contemplate different points of view on a deeper level.

Wu’s words give us a sense of how we can view ourselves and others so that rather than just drawing blind comparisons, we know that the way we see the world and the way we face ourselves are far more important. Not being easily satisfied is human nature and perhaps that’s what urges us to strive towards progress, but we can’t ignore the significance of grasping the moment and cherishing every second of life. Even within the same job, different people achieve different results and a lot of it comes down to our behavior and the mindset we bring to the table. If we let ourselves hold onto a learning-based mentality filled with curiosity and a thirst for knowledge, then the person we are today can be even better than the person we were yesterday, and we’ll stay on the path to eternal youth rather than being shackled to the numbers on our identity cards.

Chen’s illustrations lead us into a virtual world that blends imagination with reality. The world she creates through her pictures captures different life stages and learning experiences, showing us common items from childhood and scenes from various phases of life, so that as we work our way through them, we rediscover the beautiful memories we’ve forgotten and each of us can reawaken our own inner child.

The journey of life has never been an easy topic in the same way that life itself isn’t easy. The book uses a method that imitates silk screen printing, a traditional Chinese folk art which uses one light and one dark color, here yellow is overlaid onto a specific shade of blue. The illustrator uses this blue in an intuitive way that makes large parts of the pictures seem slightly impenetrable, as though the reader is a child coming across something new for the first time, while the yellow lines and brush strokes help give a sense of liberation and hope. If Chen had only used blue then the scenes would all have been too dark and heavy, or if she had only used yellow then the images would have felt vague and superficial, but together I think she captures the feeling of what it’s like to be alive and learn through experience.

Life is packed with all kinds of highs and lows, it’s a journey filled with uncertainties but that’s also what makes it an adventure. It won’t be plain sailing, but the most important thing is to stay childlike at heart and hold onto our curiosity to explore new things. We need this kind of courage and ambition to allow ourselves to keep our childlike mindset as we face life’s various difficulties and challenges, giving ourselves the freedom to reflect on our setbacks and accept our own shortcomings so that we can appreciate the joy and importance of staying curious about the world.